Chapter News
December 2002


Anchorage AMS Chapter Meeting, December 16, 2002

Call Meeting to Order: The meeting was called to order by James Peronto, Chapter President, at 7:55 p.m. The meeting was held at the Glacier Brewhouse Conference Room, Anchorage AK.

Old Business:

Jim opened the meeting by having everyone in the room introduce themselves.

This is the first meeting that was advertised in the newspaper. However, the ad only ran one day prior, so. Jim is hoping that it will run earlier next month to give people ample notice.

Jim gave everyone the website address again: Meeting minutes, flyers, membership forms, and papers on meteorological topics are all available on the site. If any members would like to submit a paper or write-up, it can be e-mailed to Karl Volz. New material is always welcomed.

Membership cards are still available for those who have paid their dues but not received their card. Also t-shirts are still available for a mere $15!!

The chapter is still waiting for the sunwise toolkit from the EPA.

The treasurer was not available, so Louise Williams, secretary, gave a report on the current status of the bank account. As of this meeting, there is $1012.47 in the account.

New Business:

The Anchorage Chapter has attained Honor Roll status again this year! This award is given annually to exemplary chapters who show high levels of community involvement. The award will be presented at the annual National AMS meeting, which will take place in Long Beach, CA.

Robert Forgit, vice president, spoke on his efforts with the minority scholarship. He has been in continuous contact with the Juneau Dept of Education and has received a list of high schools around the state. Letters about the scholarship will go out the first of the year. The scholarship gives $3,000 for the first year to a minority student majoring in a atmospheric/hydrological science. Scholarship donations for further years depend on grades. The NWS will be funding the cost of sending letters to rural high schools.

Karl Volz, webpage manager, brought up a new topic for discussion. The avalanche prediction center for Chugach National Forest is looking for someone to provide meteorological insight, M-F. Karl suggested that the AMS may be able to find volunteers to provide information. After much discussion, the topic was tabled until a further date.

Guest Speaker: The guest speaker was Dr. Gunter Weller from the Geo-Physical Institute in Fairbanks, AK. His topic was "Global Warming". Dr. Weller is a meteorologist originally from Australia. His career has taken him all over the world, including some time in Antarctica studying boundary layer meteorology. He has been at the Geo-Physical Institute since 1968.

Determining long-term climate change takes place over an extended period of time, a large area, and is measured by several parameters. These factors are reasons why global warming is questioned so frequently. First, real-time, unbiased measurements have only been occurring over the past 100 years. Prior to that, carbon dating, ice core study, and other mediums provide a hypothesis of temperature ranges, but no specific temperature data. Similarly, scientists are still unsure about which parameters to measure. There are many correlations between different measurements that are still not fully understood.

Dr. Weller continued by showing several charts and graphs that explained what parameters are being measured and what conclusions are being drawn. His first chart showed that carbon dioxide levels and mean temperature appear to be closely related. Carbon dioxide measurements taken from ice cores in Antarctica and other places were compared with estimated temperatures from the same time periods. The graph displayed a high correlation between the two.

Scientists currently know that burning fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere. Global models indicate that if high carbon dioxide levels are indeed related to rising temperatures, the global temperature should continue to increase dramatically over the next few years. Although models are computer generated, a particular UK model that separates human forcings from natural forcings compared well with raw data, indicating the models may be correct.

Several other indications of global warming are apparent. Although warming is not uniform across the globe, and is decade dependant, there are several environmental measurements that show a warming trend. Measurements over the past 20-30 years indicate that sea ice is reducing in both extent and thickness. Glaciers have also been retreating, indicating a negative trend. Across the globe, the freezing level is rising, permafrosts are melting and tree lines are moving northward.

The actual effects from global warming remain to be determined. Certainly, they will not be mild. Melting permafrosts can destroy buildings and turn large areas of tundra into wetlands. Coastal cities will be underwater. Disease and famine may be at an all time high.

Another theory says that global warming is not reversible. Melting of the polar ice caps may cause a cessation of ocean currents. With no heat transfer to and from the poles, the poles may once again freeze over, pushing the earth into another ice age.

Dr. Weller concluded his talk by opening the floor for questions. He was presented with an Alaska Weather Calendar and an honorary membership.

Adjournment: Jim Peronto, president, adjourned the meeting at approximately 9:30 pm.---Louise Williams.


Meeting Minutes
Thursday, December 5, 2002

The Asheville Chapter of the American Meteorological Society held its second meeting for 2002-2003, December 5, 2002. Thirty-five people attended the meeting. It was our annual Holiday party.

Business Meeting

Old Business

The Vice-president of the Chapter, Dimitri Chappas, presided at the meeting. The upcoming annual AMS meeting will be held February 9-14, 2003, in Long Beach, California. If anyone is going, please let us know so that they can represent us at the Chapter breakfast.

A regional science fair will be held at the Ramsey Activity Center at Western Carolina University, March 24-25. We will be putting more information out about this as we get closer to the date and asking for volunteers to help with the judging.

The first place winner of the Tropical Storm Forecasting Contest was Brian Nieuwenhuis. Second place winner was Susan Tarbell.

New Business

Mr. Chappas announced tentative plans for the Winter Storm Forecast Contest. The primary objective of the snow forecast is to identify the first date of measurable (not trace) snowfall in downtown Asheville as measured by Tom Ross of NCDC. The second objective and tiebreaker will be your forecast of the maximum 24-hour snowfall, again as measured by Tom Ross. We will be sending out more information on this soon. All are welcome to enter the contest, but when it comes to awarding a prize, we will be checking our current membership list to see who is eligible to win.

Guest Speaker

Our guest speaker for the night, Mike Bettes from WLOS TV, was introduced by Dimitri Chappas. Mike is an Emmy award-winning meteorologist with 7 years of weather forecast experience. He received his meteorology degree from Ohio State University and holds the AMS and NWA seals of approval. His previous experience includes meteorologist positions at WKEF in Dayton, Ohio and WSYX and WTTE in Columbus, Ohio. Some of Mike's career highlights include live coverage of Hurricane Floyd, Hurricane Bonnie, the 1997 Ohio River Floods, and 1996's Ohio Valley Blizzard. In 2001, Mike won an Emmy award for his special weather series on storm chasing in Tornado Alley.

Mr. Bettes started off his presentation with a very humorous short video on being a "Bad Meteorologist." This was mainly some "outtakes" on his numerous forecasts. He said his most embarrassing one was when he fell asleep and did not know the camera was running. Mike got his start as an intern at a Columbus Ohio TV station. His first real "job" was in Dayton, Ohio. His most memorable time so far was traveling around to see severe weather, mainly in Oklahoma, Texas, and Louisiana. He saw six tornadoes his first day out. Mike was using a little camcorder and got some wonderful footage of some of these tornadoes.

Television meteorologists adlib and do not script off notes like the news people do. Mike felt that computer graphics are much better now than when he started in the business. Also people can go to quite a few websites and find the weather information they need at a moment's notice. Broadcast meteorologists need to entertain, and have pleasant personalities to "reel" in the viewers. They keep the viewers by doing good forecasts.

Mr. Bettes said that where weather is serious business, the television station would hire true meteorologists, like Chicago. However in cities like Los Angeles and New York City, the stations would hire television personalities.---Susan A. Tarbell.


Mid-Alantic Regional Conference
on the Inland Effects of Tropical Weather Systems
May 11-13, 2003

The Central North Carolina Chapter is sponsoring an operational and emergency management focused regional conference on inland effects of tropical weather systems.

Information on the conference may be found at:

Thursday, December 12, 2002

Vice-chair Janice Jones of WNCN-TV in Raleigh introduced the evening's speaker, Dr. Jerry Watson, professor emeritus of meteorology at NC State. Jerry spoke on the topic: meteorology of the Jovian planets, a continuation of his talk from last year on the meteorology of the inner planets.

Jerry began with a visual overview of the gaseous outer planets, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. After a brief discussion on the general circulation of the earth's atmosphere, he highlighted the rotational speed and degree of axis tilt of the planets. All four rotate at a speed faster than the earth, completing one rotation in a time between 10 and 17 hours, resulting in a stronger Coriolis force in these atmospheres. Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune have similar axis orientation with respect to their orbit, between 3 and 30 degrees. Uranus, on the other hand, has its axis tilted 98 degrees from vertical, almost exactly in the plane of its orbit around the sun. This results in "seasons" on Uranus lasting some 20 years, only varying with the planet's 80-year orbit time around the sun.

On each of the gas giants, there is no ocean, land or ice surface, very unlike the terrestrial inner planets. Much of the visible meteorology takes place in the upper 0.1 to 0.3% of the planets' atmospheres. Also, Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune all emit more energy than they absorb from the sun through radiation, suggesting that they have some sort of internal energy source.

Jupiter has the most visually active atmosphere of the gas giants, with three observed cloud layers, consisting of water, ammonia and ammonia hydrosulfide. A banded pattern of alternating light zones and dark belts dominates the portion of Jupiter visible to satellites and telescopes. The light zones consist of rising air, where ammonia clouds are visible, while the dark belts are located in regions of subsidence where sulfur clouds are visible beneath the evaporated ammonia clouds. Strong shear has been observed across these belts due to the strong Coriolis force acting on the rising and sinking air motions. Wind speeds vary with latitude across the planet, with westerly flow near 100 m s-1 near the equator and easterly flow of 50 to 100 m s-1 at latitudes 20 north and south.

The great red spot on Jupiter has been observed for the past 300 years. It exhibits some movement, although overall remains in a generally fixed position. The spot is a large anticyclone, with several other small vortices rotating around and interacting with it over time.

On Saturn, three bands of clouds have again been observed, as on Jupiter. The banded structure is still apparent, but decidedly less active than Jupiter's. A large disturbance has been noted in the northern hemisphere on Saturn that returns every 30 years in the northern hemisphere summer.

On Uranus, little atmospheric activity is noted, however Neptune has visible activity, including a large dark spot, similar to the great red spot on Jupiter.

Jerry's talk ended around 9:06 p.m., with questions continuing until 9:15 p.m.

After the talk, Joel Cline of the Raleigh NWS office discussed the progress being made on the Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference on the Inland Effects of Tropical Weather Systems to be held in May. More information on the conference can be found at Brennan.


The 18 December 2002 meeting was held at Headquarters of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). The speakers for the evening were Mr. Stephen Cole and DR Laurie Geller. Mr. Cole is Publisher at AGU and a freelance science writer and editor. Dr Geller is a Senior Program Officer with the Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate at the National Research Council (NRC). Their topic for the evening was "Weather Modification: Then and Now."

Mr. Cole gave a very interesting perspective on the historical aspect of weather modification, focusing on the events of 1947 and the work of DR Irving Langmuir, Associate Director of Research for General Electric (GE). DR Langmuir's "discoveries and investigations in surface chemistry" led to his being awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1932. But, his work on gas mask filtration of smoke, the formulation of smoke-generated artificial fog, aircraft icing, ice nuclei and cloud physics led him in to the field of weather modification. In the summer of 1946, one of his laboratory assistants, Vincent Schaefer, developed a laboratory method of seeding super-cooled clouds with dry ice, and conducted a successful field test of cloud seeding that fall. Press coverage of this event sparked international interest in scientific "rainmaking." Langmuir was awarded federal funding for Project Cirrus (1947-53), which experimented with cloud seeding and weather modification. (Geoffrey P. Williams, Fall 2002: Records of Physics and Atmospheric Physics at the University of Albany, SUNY. American Institute of Physics (AIP) History Newsletter, Vol 34, No.2)

Fig 1. DR Irving Langmuir (photo courtesy of

In 1947 Project Cirrus researchers conducted seeding across the country, including the first attempt to modify a hurricane. Although that experiment was inconclusive, the hurricane abruptly changed direction shortly after it was seeded with dry ice and hit Savannah GA. Also in October 1947, Project Cirrus planes seeded clouds in New England to quench forest fires. A cloud seeding craze swept the country in 1947, including promotional campaigns in Arizona and Chicago sponsored by local newspapers.

National Science Foundation (NSF) funding for weather modification started in 1957 and continued until 1979. The renewed research interest included the continuation of experiments with hurricane modification by Robert H. Simpson and Joanne Malkus (Scientific American, December 1964). Funding peaked in the early 1970s after revelations that the United States had secretly used cloud seeding as a weapon during the Vietnam War.

DR Langmuir's posthumous reputation -- he died in 1957 -- suffered due to his decade-long enthusiasm for weather modification.

The second speaker of the evening, DR Laurie Geller, a National Research Council/National Academy of Sciences (NRC/NAS) Senior Program Officer with the Board of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, gave a brief perspective on the current status of the research and funding for weather modification. While the DR Langmuir's early interests in to this area were primarily for military and government applications, current interests are much more diverse: natural hazards mitigation, outdoor sports and activities, agriculture. Today, over 22 countries around the world, as well as some of the western states of the United States (e.g., New Mexico), have weather modification activities. China has the highest level of activity in this area. However, currently there is no United States federal government funding for weather modification research. There are several reasons for the current lack of US funding for weather modification. First, unfortunately weather modification has been associated with "quackery". Second, there have also been legal and liability issues that are difficult to resolve (i.e., "you stole MY rain" or "you caused this flood"). And, third, in the US there has been a wide spread social non-acceptance of "tampering" with the weather. The last NAS funded study was in 1973.

In November 2000, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) sponsored a workshop, chaired by DR Harold D. Orville, Atmospheric Sciences Professor Emeritus, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. The purpose of the workshop was to look at both the large and local scale effects of weather modification, document the status of present weather modification technologies, identify scientific uncertainties, and enumerate the avenues through which the uncertainties might be resolved. As a result of this workshop, the NAS has kicked off a study that could culminate in a recommendation to Congress for a renewed national effort in the field. (North Dakota Water Newsletter, December 2000: available online at For this study, an NAS committee was convened to explore the views of both the operational weather modification and the scientific communities. They have found that the views of the operational community regarding the effectiveness of current weather modification approaches are generally positive, while the views of the scientific community are more cautious. The scientific community acknowledges that cloud seeding can lead to ice crystal formation in super-cooled clouds, but believes that we need a better understanding of the basic physical processes of precipitation formation before weather modification is used operationally.

Over the past few decades, the priority research needs have not changed much, but the research tools have improved dramatically. For instance, there are now imaging techniques, radars, Lidars, and wind profilers, and hygroscopic seeding materials, and methods of identifying inadvertent versus deliberate weather modification -- all these help to make the researcher's job easier.

DR Geller forecasted the interest in weather modification to continue to grow in the future.---Lauraileen O'Connor.


Seventh Annual High Plains Conference
October 8-10, 2003
Hastings, Nebraska

The High Plains Chapter of the AMS/NWA is pleased to announce the Seventh Annual High Plains Conference October 8-10, 2003 in Hastings, Nebraska. This year's conference will be held on the campus of Hastings College.

Oral presentations are currently being solicited for the conference, with an emphasis on the weather of the High Plains region. One page abstracts may be submitted until the August 15, 2003 deadline. The conference will be of interest to not only public and private meteorologists, but broadcast meteorologists, meteorology students, emergency managers, storm chasers, and other weather enthusiasts as well. Keynote speakers will be announced at a later date.

The High Plains Chapter is proud to once again sponsor a student paper competition for both undergraduate and graduate students. Two monetary scholarships will be awarded, with the top finisher receiving $500 and a free one year membership to the chapter.

Registration for the conference is $50, while student registration is only $25. Conference fees will include lunch and refreshments. The banquet dinner on Thursday evening (October 9) is an extra nominal fee. Provisions for vendors will be made available at little or no extra charge.

The latest conference information, including local lodging and pre-registration, can be found at the High Plains Chapter website:

Any questions or abstract submissions may be sent to the conference co-chairs: and

c/o National Weather Service
6365 Osborne Drive West
Hastings, Nebraska 68901
Phone: 402-462-2127

Minutes of the Regular Meeting
December 10, 2002

Nine members of the High Plains AMS/NWA chapter met at noon at the Town and Country Kitchen in Norton, KS. After lunch, Gino Izzi of North Platte, NE (LBF WFO) presented two reports: one a climatological look at the occurrence of dense fog at LBF and VTN, and another a statistical look at climatology of non-convective high wind events at the same two locations.

After Gino's presentations, the regular meeting began, directed by President John Stoppkotte.

Secretary Tim Burke read the minutes from the 08/06/2002 meeting; the minutes were accepted as read.


Treasurer Mike Moritz, unable to attend, sent his report via both President John Stoppkotte and Secretary Tim Burke. President John Stoppkotte read both the treasury report and the financial report of the Dodge City conference. Mike's report was in two parts; the regular treasurer's report, and a summary of the October conference in Dodge City.

With a beginning balance of $2,248.85 on August 6, 2002, the ledger finished on December 3, 2002 with a balance of $2066.11.

The financial report from the 2002 High Plains conference in Dodge City showed Expenses of $4,027.01, and Receipts of $3,658.00, for a net loss of $369.01. We consider this conference a success, and will continue to strive to host and put on quality, low-cost conferences, annually.

The treasury report was accepted as read.


The issue of our chapter sponsoring a "Women in Science" scholarship was re-visited (from a previous meeting.) John Stoppkotte checked with the national AMS headquarters, and found that we could set the scholarship up any way we wanted to, i.e., create the criteria ourselves. He went on to say, that at the time this topic was first proposed, he had overlooked the fact that our chapter gives out $800.00 in student scholarships at our annual conference already, and financially supporting another ongoing scholarship may be hard to support. It was noted how much interest has been shown by young female students in the job shadow programs recently. If anyone has ideas or input on this, please send them to John Stoppkotte, via email. (

Mike Moritz and Dan Nietfeld are going to the National AMS conference in February in Long Beach, CA. Also, Jared Guyer may get to attend, if funding is available. Dan and Mike are planning to attend the "Chapter Breakfast" for local chapters, as well as present a poster at the conference.

Vice President Jim Johnson shared a few notes from Chapter Archives. Minutes from a 1996 meeting (the first year of our existence): There were 26 members (nearly half are no longer with us), with a closing treasury balance of $139.81, including an interest payment of $0.14! How far we've come...


The main discussion for new business was the plans for our next High Plains conference, to be held in Hastings, NE. Jared Guyer gave a report of what has been going on lately. Hastings College has confirmed our use of their facilities, including free use of classrooms and needed support. Very reasonable meal prices will be available from the student union. The conference will be from Oct. 8th-10th, Wed-Fri. Please let the Hastings WFO know ASAP if there are any known conflicts with these dates. Around 65 hotel rooms have been blocked and secured at government per diem rates, and more plans are in the works. The official announcement for this conference, along with a call for papers, will be issued by the end of this month. If you have an idea or suggestion for invited speakers, please give Rick Ewald, Mike Moritz or Jared Guyer of the North Platte, NE office a call or email. Updated information will be posted on our chapter website,

Next, we accepted officer nominations. In addition to the following nominations, President John Stoppkotte will email the membership with a solicitation for more nominations. After a period of approximately 2 weeks for nominations, and then after these minutes have been posted for at least a week, another email will be sent by John Stoppkotte for our membership to vote on 2003 officers (probably after the first of the year). The following nominations were accepted at this meeting: President: Mike Moritz Vice President: Jared Guyer Treasurer: Aaron Johnson Secretary: Tim Burke and Dave Eastlack.


The meeting adjourned at 2:22 PM. The next meeting will be scheduled in the first quarter of 2003, after new officers are in place.---Tim Burke.



Date: Saturday December 14, 2002

Our December meeting in Galveston was really a treat and quite interesting. It actually does snow in Galveston on occasionally but not very often. Stan Blazyk has written a great book on Galveston Weather. The December meeting took place at the Galveston County Historical Museum. This was our Holiday meeting where everyone brought a dessert to share.

Speaker: Stan Blazyk

Program: Winter Weather Events in Galveston

Galveston, Texas is generally is not known for turbulent or extreme winter weather. Despite this reputation, the city has had its share of storms and cold weather during the winter season. This presentation provided an overview of the more unusual snow and ice events, cold waves, and other winter storms that have impacted the city over the past 150 years, with a focus on how these events were experienced by residents. Rare photographs and graphs detailing revenant climatic data accompanied the presentation.

Stan Blazyk is a lifelong weather enthusiast who has combined his interest in climatology with prior historical data to publish a history of Galveston Weather titled: "A Century of Galveston Weather".---Liz Murphy.


Omaha-Offutt AMS October 2002

Weather Plays Vital Role in Rail Industry

The Omaha-Offutt chapter of the AMS toured the Union Pacific Harriman Dispatching Center as part of its November 2002 meeting. Over 425 train dispatchers work at the Union Pacific office located in Omaha, NE. The dispatchers were seated one after another in a long and darkened room with their eyes fixed upon the giant screen, which spanned several hundred feet. On this dark screen appeared numerous colored lines weaving to and fro from city to city and in front of this screen sat the train dispatcher guiding trains safely to their destinations. A red strobe light stood atop of the dispatcher's desk ready to alert all dispatchers of dangerous and potentially life threatening situations. In the winter, it may be the bitter cold causing the rail line to contract, snap, and finally train derailment. The ice may also freeze up the rail switches. The summer brings severe storms with high winds, heavy rains, floods, and washouts, all capable of leading to derailment. In addition, oppressive heat will result in expanding, buckling, and breaking track.

Union Pacific is forced to make year round weather related adjustments. For instance, rail workers will often remove segments of track when track expansion threatens to compromise track integrity. Thousands of trains may be rerouted due to widespread flooding like that experienced along the Mississippi in 1993. Track must also be checked after flash flooding to determine if the underlying support has been washed out. In addition, heating devices are required at switches to fight the cold and icy winter weather. The Union Pacific visit has further highlighted to the Omaha-Offutt chapter the significance of weather on the vitality of our nation.---Jeremy Wesely.


A fun time was had by the 22 people in attendance at our annual holiday party at the Holiday Inn City Center in downtown Green Bay December 10th. (Regardless if you had the deluce de leche. It's an inside joke between the people at my table, but if you must know it's a very rich cheesecake.) After dinner, Bruce Smith showed us what he did on his summer vacation. He went to Japan through the Fulbright Memorial Fund (not to be confused with the Fulbright Scholarship.) The program brings American teachers to Japan. Smith says they teach science just like in America, the only difference is societal. Smith says one of the low lights of the trip was taking baths with other men. But, he says one of the many highlights was touring the Meteorological Museum in downtown Tokyo, just east of the Imperial Palace. Smith got a private tour because he was told to come back on a day they were closed. Inside, he found the museum is geared towards children, complete with instruments that measure snow depth remotely from the mountains by using sonic waves. There's also a machine that simulates earthquakes, since meteorology is integrated with other natural disasters, ie: earthquakes and volcanos. Smith says another highlight, and humbling part of the trip was talking with a woman who lived through World War Two, and her experience of running into a river with her daughter to escape a fire bombing. He was staying with her daughter and her family for a short time.

Future meetings:
April 8th, 2003 - Severe Weather Spotter Training meeting. 7pm UW Green Bay.

There are no other meetings scheduled at this time, but we hope to change this as soon as possible. If you have any suggestions, no matter how off the wall they may be, feel free to pitch them.

The spring elections are coming up sooner than you may think. If you have even the slightest bit of interest in running for an elected position, give it some more consideration. You need to be a member of the AMS to be President or Vice-President. But, you don't need to be an AMS member to be Treasurer or Secretary.---Scott Patrick.


The Cook College Chapter of the AMS had their 4th general meeting of the 2002 Fall Semester on 10 December 2002. The meeting began at 9:04 pm by President, Chuck Caracozza. Chuck announced that he would be passing out sign-up sheets for many of the upcoming events that the club would be partaking.

First off, Chuck and Brian Frugis, Meteorology Club Secretary, announced the winners of the snow pool. Two students were both within two days of the 1st 1" snowfall in New Brunswick on December 5, and received $9.50 each.

Chuck announced that next semester's WeatherWatcher program will also include a Saturday broadcast. Because of this, two new anchor and producer positions would be opened up.

The club needs volunteers to help work on our club poster that we will be taking to the AMS Conference in Long Beach. Chuck tried to encourage people to sign-up to help work on that project, which is headed by Kathleen Schmeelck and Mark Papier.

Chuck announced that Bryan Norcross is scheduled to come speak on Saturday, 19 April 2003 at 7pm. We need volunteers to also help organize that event as well.

The Meteorology Club is also planning to have a Skywarn training session at Rutgers. Chuck has been in contact with meteorologists at the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Mt. Holly, NJ to have them come up soon to train us as official storm spotters.

Chuck also announced that we need help updating our bulletin board on the third floor of the ENR building on campus. Megan Linkin, Meteorology Representative to the Cook College Council, volunteered to head the committee to improve and update the board, and encouraged fellow students to help her.

Chuck also announced that several trips are planned for the Spring Semester including a trip to the NWS in Mt. Holly, NBC 10 in Philadelphia, and possibly to the National Center for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) in Silver Springs, Md.

Josh McGrath, Club Historian, announced that the point system is still in full effect and encouraged club members to verify that their points were accurate on the printed sheets in the front of the room.

Finally, Andrew Durante, University Senator, headed a map discussion about a possible freezing rain event for central and northern New Jersey for the next day. His skill was greatly shown as he presented observations and model data to augment his forecast. The meeting ended around 9:50 pm.---Brian J. Frugis.


In October, our chapter had the privilege to visit Global Atmospherics Incorporated-Vaisala, the nation's leading lightning detection company who created and provides information from the National Lightning Detection Network. We had a tour of the facility and a talk from the insurance sector of the company. They provide insurance companies information of the location and time of lightning strikes for claims of damage due to lightning. A very worth while trip and a success for our chapter's first "field trip"!

On Wednesday, November 20, SEACAMS had its third meeting of the current year. At the start of the meeting we announced that the Vice President position would be open for candidates due to our current VP needing to step down because of a family emergency. Our meeting's speaker was the hydrologist from the National Weather Service office in Tucson, giving a talk on "Forest Fire and its Hydrologic Ramifications". The talk was pointed towards last summer's wildfires in Arizona, including the Bullock fire near Tucson which covered 30,563 acres, and the grand Rodeo-Chedeski fire in northeastern Arizona which burned 469,000 acres.

The biggest hydrologic consequence of forest fires is the hydrophobic soils. These are a result of the fire boiling off the resins and sap of trees, and the resins/sap mixing with the ash under high temperatures. This mixture ends on the forest ground and mixing with the soils, creating an almost water-resistant cover on the ground. This increases the chances of a flood dramatically. The US Forest Service has a Burn Severity Index that is related to the amount of time water beads on the soil prior to any infiltration. High Burn Severity is more than 20 seconds (in which some samples at the Bullock fire exceeded 18 minutes), Moderate Burn Severity is less that 20 seconds, and Low Burn Severity is close to normal.

These fires caused water quality excessive due to exessive production of sediment and nutrients, effects of ash, and fire retardant residues. The ash and sediment increases reservoir infilling and reduced the "life" of the reservoir, clogged water supply intakes at reservoirs, and mud infilling fish pool habitats. The fire retardant contains toxic proteins called PBDE's that are fat-soluble and are hormone mimicking chemicals. It can create phosphate enrichment of aquatic ecosystems and it has been noted that acute toxicity seems likely in early stages of certain fish species.

The National Weather Service in Tucson had issued many Flash Flood Warnings/Watches specific to the burn area but went unverified. After the fire the area was closely watched even though monsoon events are typically of limited aerial extent and less likely to produce flooding. Yet this winter, the area will still need to be watched due to the rains that becauseught in, and becuase of the El Nino year.

In his conclusion, Mr. Schaffner demonstrated that fires can have a dramatic impact on both physical hydrology and water quality, and that the physical hydrologic impacts are expected to persist for a 3-5 year period. The National Weather Service and other agencies will have to be vigilant to monitor the situation and alter their approach as conditions warrant.

With the holidays and finals approaching, the officers decided to go without a meeting for the month of December but will start again in January with a Meteorlogist from the NWS in Tucson who was forecasting at all the Arizona wildfires this summer.---Lisa Reed.


Minutes from the Tuesday, December 3, 2002 meeting at Texas A&M.

President Brent Maddux called the meeting to order at 7:09 PM. The Secretary's report was given. The Treasurer reported a current balance of $1,277.27. The next meeting was announced to be next semester on February 4th. The officers reported how the TAMSCAMS intramural teams did during the season. The volleyball team lost during the first round of playoffs, as did the co-rec softball team. The flag football team were eliminated in the second round. The club's weekly sand volleyball game was announced for Friday, despite the extreme cold. The annual trip to Oklahoma to visit the National Severe Storms Laboratory and Oklahoma University was announced for one of the last two weekends in February. A progress report was given over the redecoration of the meteorology department case. Treasurer Paul Roller reported on the success of Adopt-A-Highway on November 23rd. Ten TAMSCAMS members collected 24 bags of trash and then went for lunch at McDonalds. Also, a community/educational service project for the chapter was proposed for next fall by Dr. Kennikenicutt. It pertained to helping young elementary students with atmospheric science projects. Finally, the President introduced the speaker for the evening. Alan Moller from the National Weather Service gave a presentation over severe weather. The meeting was adjourned at 9:00 PM.---Morgan Gallagher.


November Meeting

Tom Fahey, Manager of Meteorology, at Northwest Airlines conducted a comprehensive tour of the De-icing facilities at the Minneapolis/St Paul Airport. He explained how the ice and snow change the smooth surface and affect the potential lift of an aircraft. Thehave de-icing stations (which look like gas stations) located near the end of the runways because it is so critical for the airplane to get airborne before more ice or snow can accumulate. We got a close look at the de-icing trucks & tanks which hold the recycled Glycol from the underground reservoirs, which the EPA requires.

It is the Meteorologist who decides when de-icing and anti-icing are necessary. Many revisions have fine- tuned their program to be extremely efficient and effective in insuring the safety of the air travelers of today.

December Meeting

Belinda Jensen and Don Moldenhauer gave us a brief tour of the KARE 11 (NBC) studio, control room, and weather office here in the Twin Cities on December 12th. Don showed us many of the exciting features of SkyScan 11 and SkyScan 11 VIPIR (Volumetric Imaging and Processing with Integrated Radar), which is state of the art software systems used by KARE 11. They take data from their own Doppler radar and the NWS (NEXRAD) and make easy-to-understand graphics (3 dimensional) which helps predict where the heaviest rain, hail, high winds or tornadoes are most likely to occur. Both Meteorologists were very informative and enlightening in their descriptions and presentations. The examples used were well-known tornadoes which occurred earlier this year, just across the border in Wisconsin, at Ladysmith and Siren.

At the end of the meeting, we contributed gifts for a program involving underprivileged children, called Toys for Tots. ---Joan Haley.


Our second convergence of the season was held at the National Weather Service in Ruskin, Florida. The speaker was Dr. David Martsolf from the University of Florida. Dr. Martsolf has done extensive research on Florida frosts and freezes and has over 50 years experience in this field.

Dr. J. David Martsolf, professor of Climatology, University of Florida speaks to West Central Florida Chapter.

Dr. Martsolf presented different methods of preventing crops and delicate plants from damage due to frost. When deciding how to protect vegetation, there are many things to consider, including tree heights, soil moisture, storage of solar energy in soil and inversions. All the methods he described work to various degrees, but it takes knowledge and experience to know which method is best suited for a particular situation.

Methods of protecting plants and trees from frost include covers, greenhouses, wind breaks, wind machines, trunk wraps, fog creation, heating, (even using flame throwers!) and irrigation. Dr. Martsolf described each of these methods in detail, including the pros and con's of each, and those that may or may not be socially acceptable (such as tire burning). He also provided papers of his work over the years at the Horticultural Department and the Fruit Crops Department of the University of Florida.

Dr. Martsolf also discussed the relationship between Florida freezes and Pacific Sea Surface Temperatures. This discussion touched upon the significant El Nino events of the past several decades and their effect on Florida freezes. The ENSO phenomenon helps in forecasting the severity of Florida freezes for the winter season.

Dr. Martsolf welcomes email inquiries at Further information about this subject and the Florida Agricultural Weather Network can be found at

Full text of Dr. Martsolf's presentation---Andy Johnson.


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